Written in reaction to the horrors of the First World War, Austrian satirist Karl Kraus wrote the play ‘The Last Days of Mankind’ - a condemnation of the events of that time. The narrative acutely depicts the ugly themes of a generation thrust into war that we have all become too familiar with over the century since it was published and remains as relevant today as it did back then.

Fittingly, the Tiger Lillies have given us their interpretation of Kraus’ work which first featured in a theatrical production of Last Days of Mankind at Leith Theatre in 2018. The ‘Brechtian street opera trio’ (to quote another’s description of the band that goes a long way in summing them up in as many words) have captured with deft musical and narrative precision the inanity and futility that underlined such a horrific time in history. Albeit, not without both the sarcasm and black humour, and at times poignant beauty, that will be familiar to those who know the band’s repertoire. War is Not Fair, Infant Mortality or Treason are a few good examples from this set of songs.

With musical saw, theremin and a percussive adorned drum kit augmenting the characteristic falsetto and emerald green accordion of lead singer songwriter Martyn Jacques, the Tiger Lillies have an unmistaken distinct look and sound. They are hugely prolific, releasing six studio albums in the last two-and-a-half years alone, and have won an Olivier award and been nominated for a Grammy. They are also fast becoming a regular at the equally unique East End music hall that makes for the perfect venue for The Tiger Lillies’ theatrical performances.

Their 12-night run is due to finish Saturday 17 September and of course has crossed over the time since the Queen’s death and national mourning. Hence, a sense of dour melancholy that seemed to lurk in the shadows of the 200-year-old music hall, seeking to reinforce a sense of portent as we transition into a not so new future where the past seems to repeat itself time and again. Hopefully, The Tiger Lillies will still be around for many more years to lighten up those darker days.